OU Spring Game Summary

The following information is borrowed from various media reports on the OU Red/White Spring game.  I also used a pretty good play-by-play wrapup from the site, which can be found here.  The Red team defeated the White, 20-14.  Here are a few things that can be assumed from the game:

1. Quarterback- Landry Jones, much like EJ and Florida State, was the losing quarterback of the day.  Of course that does not mean that Oklahoma will struggle at the position come fall.  According to reports, Jones played in all of four series for the White team.  He finished 6 of 11, 40 yards and one INT.  His "backup," RS frosh Blake Bell, went 11-24, 76 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.  (Disclaimer: I'm not clear if those are White team only stats.  Bell took some Red snaps in the 4th quarter.  BR has him at 12-18, 84 yds...)  The program's #2, sophomore Drew Allen, threw for the Red team most of the day.  He finished 16-29, 179 yds, 1 TD and 1 INT.  The interception came off sort of a hail mary at the end of the first half so I wouldn't even count it.

By most accounts there were no surprises at the quarterback position.  Most folks wanted to see Blake Bell in action.  Rivals and ESPN have him rated as 4* and he brings much hype with him.  So the extra reps were maybe both for his benefit and the benefit of the 20k or so in the stands.  If I had to pick, I'd go with the stands.  In the fall we can expect to see Landry Jones on the field at Doak.  If by some fluke a backup were required, Drew Allen can be assumed to have locked that position up.  (Mostly because Bell fumbled enough to cause some comments.)  And between the two of them, the quarterback position in Oklahoma is not a position of concern to the coaching staff.  Not by a long shot.

2. Offensive Line- This was an area of the game I wanted to hear more about.  You may recall how starting right tackle and overall OL lynchpin Jarvis Jones went down with a torn right patella tendon.  The coaching staff expect his recovery to be about six months by most accounts, so they could medically red-shirt him or not and he'd still probably miss the game at Doak.  So how would OU's line perform without him, and who would step up in his place?  From CrimsonAndCreamMachine:

Who will step in for an injured Jarvis Jones at right tackle? Oklahoma needs to find someone fairly quickly as they are looking at spending up to half of the season without their veteran right tackle. You'd think that the leading candidates are sophomore Josh Aladenoye and redshirt freshman Daryl Williams. There's a reason they're both on the white team with Landry Jones. This is clearly an audition for both of them and I would expect them to split time on the right side of the line. 

Well, we might not find out who won that battle for some time.  And I'm not really sure that it matters.  By and large, the offensive line got rave reviews for providing a very low-sack experience.  BR reports the total as two sacks.  For both teams.  Combined.  Now I'm not really sure if the OU defense was pulling out all the stops or playing as aggressively as they could have, but in a game where touch contact rules apply, two sacks is pretty impressive.

3. Running Game- Now this is where things get interesting.  RB DeMarco Murray, who basically was the OU running game last year, has departed.  Oklahoma was trying out five different backs to determine if they could come away with a single starter.  And by many accounts, they haven't.  Keep in mind that this was a spring game in which pretty much the entire OL was healthy and playing.  (Exception listed above.)  While blocking probably wasn't overly aggressive, the experience factor on the line was there.  White's Dominique Whaley came away as the game's leading rusher with 10 carries, 65 yards, and the game's longest run at 45 yards.  He averaged 6.5 yards per carry.  And he is a walk-on.

Brandon Williams was OU's top recruit for 2011.  The 5* from Brookshire (TX) Royal had, by most accounts, a very underwhelming day.  Take into account that he is an EE true freshman, but he accounted for a total of 13 yards from seven carries.  Jonathan Miller was another possibility.  The Rivals 4* sophomore had two carries for 16 yards.  But he is coming off of knee surgery.  Roy Finch is the team's leading returing RB with 398 yards on 85 carries.  He tallied 20 yards on eight attempts.

It would appear that the coaching staff may have opted to rush by committee until further advised.  Says QB Jones, "We'll be good at running back, and if it's by committee, it's by committee.... All those guys are talented enough to play back there."  But another option is sophomore Brennan Clay.  Racking up only 127 yards on 36 carries in 2010 (mostly garbage time stats in blowout wins), he did pretty well for the Red team on Saturday.  12 carries, 59 yards, and a touchdown.  But given that the choice for the staff comes down to Clay, a walk on, and a series of underwhelming backs, don't expect to have a final decision made by September 17th.  Both Florida State and Oklahoma will likely throw everything they got at the other team since our backfield performances were fairly similar.  Difference is, ours has much, much more experience.

4. Wide Recievers- I'll be brief in reference to this unit, since the spring game was mostly about who was going to come in and fill some additional slots.  Ryan Broyles only saw action catching punts.  Justin McCay, 2010's best OU recruit according to Rivals, didn't play.  He also apparently tweeted about an injury last week.  Could be out for the season.  And Kenny Stills was apparently a little banged up but still played.  In any case, OU still has Broyles and Stills, and has a variety of guys to fill in at number 3.  We shouldn't expect anything major to impact this unit, barring fall injury to both Broyles and Stills, to make us think that they'll be anything less than a threat on gameday at Doak.

The other guys might not be great.  But when you've got Ryan Broyles on the field, you only have to be good enough.

5. Defense- To sum it up, we ought to be a little worried and play carefully on September 17th.  The defense for both teams received rave reviews from the coaching staff and many media outlets.  Much credit is probably owed to Oklahoma's defensive line and linebackers for shutting down its own fledgling running game.  The secondary had a very good day deflecting passes and picking off quarterbacks.  All in all, the OU D dominated much like ours did in our spring game.  Again, it should be noted that the offensive playbook probably isn't going to be fully used in these games.  But the defense had a fairly solid day by most accounts.

That said, the secondary could be exposed as a weakness on September 17th.  There is very little returning experience in this unit, and some accounts have players like sophomore Aaron Colvin looking rather undersized.  (Yet Colvin led the game with eight tackles.)  I think that OU only playing one game prior to coming to Tallahassee will work to our advantage with this unit.  I'm not saying that we'll put up 300 yards on the guys, but I think we could find or make enough holes to open up our running game a bit if we need it.  Keep in mind that these guys had a "solid" day against Landry Jones for about four possessions.  Yes, one INT.  But the rest of the game's QBs are very fresh and untested.  And IMO, so is the OU secondary.  Time will have to tell on this one.

6. Special Teams- This unit is a special point of concern for die-hard Sooner fans.  Or so I've heard.  And in the confines of a no contact, no hurry game, K Patrick O'Hara went wide right from 49 yards.  Michael Hunnicutt hit from 40 and 36, and Jimmy Stevens from 28 and 25.  So in case you've lost count, thats three kickers.  They might not have an answer to this question come gameday.  Stevens brings the most experience to this unit, and he regularly kicks at about 80 percent accuracy.  His longest kick in the last two years, however, is 42 yards.  My guess is that the staff was looking at Patrick O'Hara to add some distance to the kicking game.  Fun Fact:  OU hasn't hit a FG from 50 yards or more since 2007.  There were zero attempts in 2010 and 2008, and 0 fer 2 in 2009.  Compare that to FSU with 2 of 4 in 2010 and 8 of 13 total in the same three year span.

Also of note:  I read in today's "The Oklahoman" (OKC paper) that the OU red zone offense was about average at best.  Both offenses combined totaled a 50 percent success rate in the zone (3 of 6).  Scoring plays were of 16, 11, and 17 yards respectively so the goal line offense didn't come out to play at all.  But again, its spring, so it shouldn't be read into too heavily.



Very helpful PbP from

Bleacher Report synopsis

Article from the OU Insider with help from the OU SI dept.

A couple of random newspaper articles- here and here

And of course, CrimsonAndCreamMachine.  Five questions and the game roster.

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